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FAQ for Practicum Partners

While we do have some Program requirements that projects must meet – for example, the organizational work must have a research component, a timeline that can be completed from November to February and meet research ethics requirements – the guiding principle of the practicum is that projects are based on your ideas and are designed to meet your needs.


Students will have approximately 120 total hours to work on their practicum project. This allows for about eight hours per week to work on their projects, beginning in mid-October and concluding by the end of February. However, these hours can be flexible depending on the nature of the project and the needs of your organization. This should be negotiated in the early stages of the research project design.


Students begin to design their projects in mid-September. Project work that does not require research ethics review can begin as early as mid-October. Project work requiring research ethics review can begin as soon as approval from the Ethics Committee is received.


First Nations and Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary program, incorporating course work from many departments and allowing students to develop their own areas of interest within Indigenous topics (e.g. women’s issues, self-government). The Program is built around a core of courses and is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the skills necessary to work effectively in community-based environments. In the third year students take courses in theory and research methodology that provide a basis for their work in the fourth-year practicum. A high percentage of students in the Program are from First Nations communities, but other students, including international students, also enroll in our courses.


First Nations and Indigenous Studies will arrange a meeting on campus with all Indigenous communities and organizations that have expressed interest in a practicum student. At this meeting you will have an opportunity to meet with the practicum students to talk about your practicum project and your organization. Following the meeting students will submit a resume and cover letter to several organizations. You will have the opportunity to interview any students interested in your project to ensure a good match. Once you have accepted a student, we will work with you and the student to finalize project design, including timelines, evaluation criteria, and responsibilities.


It is extremely important for a student to work well with your organization. You are not obligated to accept any student you do not think would work well with your organization.


Your role as a supervisor of the student will vary considerably depending on the nature of your project. If, for instance, you have a student working to organize an archive, you may need to do fairly little supervision beyond identifying the materials, your conditions for working with them, providing support throughout the ethics process, and what you hope for as an outcome, though of course you may have more information or direction you want to share. If you are asking the student to assist in the preparation of documentation for an application for funding, you might want to direct the student more often as to what needs to be done and whether the work they are doing will work the way you want it to. If you are directing a research project in which the student plays a very specific role, your supervision is likely to be far more extensive.


In September, we invite all organizations interested in a practicum student to a meeting at UBC to introduce themselves to the class and talk about their project and organization. Students benefit greatly from this meeting; however, if you are unable to attend, we can forward information about your project and organization to the students in the course. In March, we invite you back to UBC when the practicum students present their projects. During the rest of the year, we are happy to meet with you on campus, at your organization, or on the telephone to discuss the progress the students are making on their projects.


At the beginning of the project we will assist you and the student in formalizing the mode of evaluation most suitable to the work being done. Program staff will compile a final evaluation based on your evaluation and the student’s final presentation to the Program and your letter of evaluation, for which a template will be provided.


The practicum positions are not paid positions. Students complete the practicum as part of a senior-level course requirement, FNIS 400–Research Practicum.


Yes. Some students have gone on to work for their organizations in short-term and long-term positions after completing their practicums.

UBC’s First Nations and Indigenous Studies gratefully acknowledges its practicum partners, past and present: